Friday, November 07, 2014

Special election a distinct possibility in CD2

In the flurry of activity before the election this past Tuesday, an event occurred that could have significant ramifications. Earl Everett, the Democratic nominee for Congress in the 2nd District, died Sunday from injuries sustained in a car wreck two days before. Incumbent Republican Congressman Markwayne Mullin went on to win with 70% of the vote, while Everett received 24.6% and Independent candidate Jon Douthitt got 5.4%. That seemed to be simply a tragic footnote in an otherwise unremarkable and lopsided race.

However, the Oklahoma Democratic Party and state chairman Wallace Collins appear to be pushing for a special election, given the fact that their nominee was no longer living at the time of the election. The ODP Central Committee is meeting tomorrow (Saturday) to pick a replacement candidate in the event a special election is called.

State statute does spell out how these situations are handled.
§26-1-105.  Substitute candidates.
A. In the event of the death of a political party's nominee for office prior to the date of the General Election, a substitute candidate will be permitted to have his name placed on the General Election ballot as follows:
3. If said death should occur five (5) days or more following the Runoff Primary Election date, a special General Election shall be called by the Governor and shall be conducted according to the laws governing such elections, Section 12-101 et seq. of this title, except that there shall be no filing period or special Primary Election and the candidates in the special General Election shall be the substitute candidate named by the central committee and the nominee of other political parties elected in the Primary or Runoff Primary, and any previously filed independent candidates.
From my reading, I would say we're headed for a special election.

Dave Weston, chairman of the Oklahoma Republican Party, is objecting to the ODP's call for a special election, saying it would "disenfranchise" voters' selection on Tuesday, and be a waste of taxpayer resources.

I understand where Weston is coming from. Mullin got 70% of the vote; will a special election really be much different? In all likelihood it won't. But, I think the state statute is abundantly clear and precise (Governor Fallin and the State Election Board have asked Attorney General Scott Pruitt to review and advise on how to proceed).

We'll see how this shakes out. Several names have already surfaced as possible replacement candidates for the Democrats, which I will address in a following post.


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